Before beginning this post, I looked up synonyms for the word “vulnerable”. My reason being to come up with a clever title for this because sometimes I try too hard to be funny. But in reality my search led me to something else. Synonyms for the word “vulnerable” have such a negative connotation. Type in “synonyms for vulnerable” on google and words like “helpless” or “powerless” come up. As Christians, why does being vulnerable have to mean things like that? That is the exact opposite direction that this needs to go.
Your vulnerability is crucial to your ministry.
I grew up in the south *insert your own joke about rednecks here if you wish* and I believe that there is a very strong idea among the culture there that you must uphold an image that everything is peachy. There, everyone knows everyone else’s business and people present themselves as perfection so that their reputation remains spotless. This is such a frustrating concept to me!
The thing is, no one other than Christ is perfect. We all know that. Yet, for some reason, we want everyone to somehow still see us as perfect. Me personally, I’m a hot mess and I know it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, guys! I’m going to step out on a limb here and say that presenting yourself as perfection will do absolutely nothing for an effective ministry. As Christians, we need to humble ourselves and realize that no matter how hard we try to avoid it, God is going to place things in our lives that aren’t pretty. And when that happens, we shouldn’t hide it!
In Galatians 6, Paul learns that certain Jewish teachers were confusing and unsettling his new Christian converts in Galatia and says for us to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (6|2) In order to bear each other’s burdens, we have to share them! WHOA! CRAZY! We are not called to uphold an image of perfection to reach people. We are called to be transparent. You’re struggling? Talk about it. You need prayer? Ask for it. People who are far from God in their own struggles need to hear that they are not alone! Put yourself in the place of a new Christian struggling with feeling unworthy. Wouldn’t it make you feel uncomfortable and undeserving to only hear about how great every other Christian’s life is when you’re still stuck somewhere in a pit of your own?
A pastor of mine once said “Nobody cares what you know unless they know that you care”. I love this! You can spout off as many “Sunday School” answers as you want and try to make yourself seem extra spiritual and all put together, but as harsh as it sounds, that doesn’t matter! Someone who isn’t already a Christ follower is literally not going to care one bit about that. They care about whether or not you care to actually listen and attempt to relate to what’s going on in their life when you are placed in it.
Is it all coming full circle for you now? This is where things get real. Someone tells you of their struggles? Try to relate. Think through your own struggles. Be honest about them. Show Jesus by admitting your own downfalls and discussing how The Lord helps you through them. No one is perfect but Him. No one can do it alone.
“But he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. “ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
– 2 Corinthians 12|9